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Special Budget Scorecard Edition

Inside this issue

  • State budget scorecard
  • PSEA’s Center for Professional Learning summer schedule
  • PSEA Member Benefits spotlight: Contact Fill

State budget scorecard

A bipartisan state budget plan that includes significant funding increases for basic and special education won the approval of the Pennsylvania House and Senate and is headed to Gov. Tom Wolf’s desk.

PSEA members played a key role in boosting education funding and stopping a Senate bill that would have diverted huge amounts of taxpayer dollars from the state’s public schools every year to spend on private school programs and tax breaks for businesses. When PSEA members speak out, our elected officials listen.

Here's a scorecard to keep track.

WIN. School Funding. This a big win. The 2021-22 budget includes the following education funding increases:

  • $200 million for basic education funding;
  • $100 million for Level Up Funding for the state’s 100 most underfunded school districts;
  • $50 million for special education;
  • $30 million for early education;
  • $20 million for Ready to Learn;
  • $11 million for preschool Early Intervention; and
  • Nearly $5 million for community colleges.

Additionally, there is $50 million in American Rescue Plan funding for the Pennsylvania State System of Higher Education (PASSHE) “to support the redesign and growth of the system to make a college education more affordable and accessible for students,” according to Gov. Tom Wolf.

All told, this is the largest annual increase in state education funding ever, coming at a critically important time as school districts struggle to meet their ongoing obligations while planning how to use emergency federal funds to bridge learning gaps and address student mental health needs post-pandemic. Lawmakers from both parties came together in recognition that the education of Pennsylvania’s 1.7 million students must be a top priority as we move forward.

WIN. Largest Transfer of Taxpayer Dollars Out of Public Schools in PA – DEFEATED. Earlier this month, state Sens. Scott Martin and Jake Corman began pushing a bill to divert huge amounts of taxpayer dollars from the state’s public schools every year to spend on private school programs. Senate Bill 1 would have done so by providing sizeable increases each year, indefinitely, for the Educational Improvement Tax Credit (EITC) and Opportunity Scholarship Tax Credit Program (OSTC) – state tax breaks for corporations that contribute to private and religious schools. Thanks to an outpouring of advocacy from PSEA members, this bill was halted in its tracks. Senate leaders were forced to pull it from their voting calendar after determining they simply didn’t have the votes to pass it.

WIN. Creation of a Statewide Charter Authorizer – DEFEATED. Senate Bill 1 also would have taken the responsibility for approving new charter schools away from school boards and given it to a new state-level board of political appointees. This would have opened the floodgates to who knows how many new charter schools, while undermining what little accountability there is in how new charters are approved. Again, thanks to the advocacy of PSEA members, this provision was yanked from Senate Bill 1. Now, we need policymakers in Harrisburg to get serious about real reform to how charter and cyber charter schools are funded.

DRAW. Increase in EITC Funding. Lawmakers approved a $40 million increase in the EITC program, even though those funds would have been better spent on public education funding. This increase, however, is much smaller than the dramatic expansion of the EITC and OSTC envisioned in Senate Bill 1, which would have increased funding for these programs by $160 million next year and by more than $735 million within five years.

DRAW. Accountability for Accelerated Learning. School districts will have unprecedented federal resources to invest in the needs of students over the next couple years, including strategies to address delayed learning due to the pandemic. Rep. Jesse Topper introduced a bill that provides greater accountability for how school districts invest those funds to bridge learning gaps and address the academic, social, and mental health needs of students. House Bill 1533 won the approval of the House Education Committee, but further action on the bill will have to wait until lawmakers return to session in the fall.

DRAW. Student Option to Repeat a Grade Level. Legislation giving parents the option to hold their children back a grade this fall is on Gov. Wolf’s desk. This bill makes worthy changes to state law, including allowing special education students, who are age 21 and would have aged out of the public education system, the opportunity to enroll for the 2021-22 school year. Other aspects of the bill are not as necessary. We certainly recognize that students have faced unprecedented challenges over the past year and that it is important to put their instructional needs first. Fortunately, there are already processes in place that allow parents and school officials to work together to allow students to repeat a grade.

The bottom line?

This is a great budget for our schools, our students, and PSEA members. Thank you for helping to make it happen – and for helping stop bad policies that would have caused serious damage to public education in Pennsylvania.

PSEA’s Center for Professional Learning summer schedule

Want to keep your mind sharp this summer? Check out PSEA's center for professional learning for fun and interesting ways you can earn Act 48 and Chapter 14 credits.


  • Supporting English Learners in the Classroom
    • June 29, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Culturally Responsive Literature
    • July 13, 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Fostering a "Growth Mindset" in the Classroom Today
    • July 15, 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Curriculum Inclusivity in Action
    • July 20, 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Creating Classroom Equity Plans
    • July 22, 6-7:30 p.m.
  • Rethinking Grading
    • July 27, 5-6:30 p.m.
  • Educator Evaluation in 2021 and Beyond
    • July 29, 2021, 10-11 a.m.

Book Discussions

  • El Deafo
    • June 30, 4-5 p.m.
  • Pedagogy Book Study: Implicit Bias in Schools
    • July 13, 11-12 p.m.
  • Celebrating Identities: Differently Abled
    • July 21, 3:30-5 p.m.
  • Pedagogy Book Study: SEL and the Brain
    • July 22, 10-11 a.m.
  • Pedagogy Book Study: Implicit Bias in Schools
    • July 27, 11 a.m.-12 p.m.
  • Picture Book Exploration – Elementary
    • July 28, 4-5 p.m.

Wellness Sessions

  • Wellness Wednesday – Exercise and stretches for educators – Jose A. Dominguez
    • June 30, 9-10 a.m.
  • Mindful Monday
    • July 12, 8-8:45 a.m.
  • Wellness Wednesday – Focus Time for Brain Health – Dr. Carla Claycomb
    • July 14, 9-10 a.m.
  • Wellness Wednesday – Speak Unarguably – Jillia Wharton
    • July 21, 6-7 p.m.
  • Mindful Monday
    • July 26, 8-8:45 a.m.
  • Wellness Wednesday – Make Time to Play – Dr. Angel Acosta
    • July 28, 9-10 a.m.


PSEA Member Benefits spotlight: Contact Fill

Looking to save money on contact lenses?

Visit the Contact Fill webpage to compare prices.

Program Benefits Include:

  • Dependable service to your home, school, or office
  • Free standard shipping and handling on all orders (use promotion code “PSEA”)
  • Convenient 24/7 online ordering
  • Personable customer service
  • No hidden charges

PSEA members must log in to take advantage of this discount program. NVA Vision insurance accepted as a form of payment.

Take advantage of the program by visiting

400 N. 3rd Street, Harrisburg, PA 17101

This content is intended for PSEA members and their immediate families.

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